Chancy Ferguson, seen here during a practice burn in Kings Valley in April, has been with Philomath Fire & Rescue since June 2019. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

The Philomath Fire & Rescue Board of Directors made a move this past week to stabilize its administrative leadership by signing Chancy Ferguson to an 18-month interim contract as fire chief.

Ferguson had been appointed interim fire chief on Sept. 12 following the announcement that the board and former fire chief Tom Miller had parted ways through a separation agreement. The board in a Sept. 28 email to fire district personnel said Ferguson had signed a contract to run through March 28, 2024.

In addition, the board announced that Ferguson appointed Rich Saalsaa to fill the position of deputy fire chief for the same time period.

Rich Saalsaa has been appointed to fill the position of deputy fire chief. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

According to the email sent by Daphne Phillips, board president, the fire chief and deputy fire chief positions will be reviewed at the end of the interim period and consideration will be given to long-term permanent agreements.

“The board greatly appreciates both Chief Ferguson and DC Saalsaa for their expertise, heart and team spirit as we build a better future together,” Phillips wrote, adding that the board acknowledges the staff and volunteers for “excellent, professional, and life-saving services to the community every day.”

Ferguson served as deputy fire chief prior to his recent appointment, joining the department in June 2019.

Saalsaa was in the role of fire and life safety officer prior to his promotion. Saalsaa first came to the district in September 2014 as a volunteer and was hired into his former position in August 2015 as a lieutenant. He was promoted to captain in 2018.

Saalsaa will continue to manage fire marshal duties until a replacement can be found.